Mark S. Wrighton

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Mark S. Wrighton
14th Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis
Assumed office
July 1, 1995 (1995-07-01)
Preceded by William "Bill" H. Danforth
Personal details
Born Mark Stephen Wrighton
(1949-06-11) June 11, 1949 (age 65)
Jacksonville, FL, US
Spouse(s) Risa Zwerling Wrighton
Residence St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Alma mater Florida State University
California Institute of Technology
Profession College administrator, Chemist
Website Office of the Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis

Mark Stephen Wrighton (born June 11, 1949)[1] is an American academic, a chemist, and the current Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Wrighton received his BS in Chemistry from Florida State University in 1969. While at Florida State, he won the Monsanto Chemistry Award for outstanding research. He received his PhD at the age of 22 from the California Institute of Technology, working under Harry B. Gray and George S. Hammond. His doctoral dissertation subject was Photoprocesses in Metal-Containing Molecules. He graduated from Caltech in 1972.

Wrighton joined the faculty of the chemistry department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall of 1972 as an assistant professor. In 1976, he was promoted to associate professor and was made a full professor the following year. Wrighton held the Frederick G. Keyes Chair in Chemistry from 1981 to 1989, when he was given the newly endowed Ciba-Geigy Chair in Chemistry.

Wrighton's research interests are centered on photochemistry and metal catalysts. He has written more than 300 journal articles and holds 14 patents. During his time at MIT, Wrighton supervised the doctoral research of more than 70 students.

In 1987, Wrighton became the head of MIT's chemistry department. He became MIT's provost in 1990. In 1995, he left MIT to become chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. He is among the highest paid university heads in the United States, making $738,000 in 2007.[2][3] In early 2007 Wrighton was mentioned as a candidate for Harvard University's presidency.[4][5]

Awards and honors[edit]

Fellowships and appointments[edit]


Wrighton was criticised by conservative students for his use of university letterhead to endorse the Missouri proposition on stem cell research.[citation needed] Wrighton was also criticized in May 2008 when the university's Board of Trustees voted to honor alumna Phyllis Schlafly with an honorary doctorate, leading to outrage from liberals opposed to her stance on gender issues and from many other members of the university community opposed to her disbelief in evolution. Wrighton distanced himself from the board's decision with a letter to the community disavowing Schlafly's views on science.[7]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Kelsey Volkmann (November 19, 2008). "Wash. U.'s Wrighton takes pay cut, endowment drops 25%". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Elizabeth (October 26, 2005). "Chancellor's salary higher than Harvard, Duke". Student Life. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  4. ^ "Panel Considers 30 for Top Job | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2014-12-11. 
  5. ^ "Wrighton likely contender for Harvard president position". Retrieved 2014-12-11. 
  6. ^ Corning Incorporated Board of Directors
  7. ^ "Students, Faculty quietly protest Schlafly at Commencement". Retrieved 2014-12-11. 

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